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Category: Film & Entertainment

OLD THEATRES OF MUMBAI: The vanishing audiences

To be honest I myself feel odd when I walk into an Eros or Sterling today. I feel I’ve entered a whole different era altogether. There are no cushioned or padded seats, no armrests with pits to keep popcorns and neither are the chairs stretchable. But there are no regrets either. On the contrary I feel complete ease when I pay a maximum Rs. forty or Rs sixty for a ticket, twenty five for popcorn and still come out watching a movie which was mediocre. At least I don’t feel royally fleeced at the end of the day. I don’t feel cheated and angered that the movie was bad (just because it was not worth the three hundred rupee ticket, the fifty rupee popcorn and the precious three hours). This is the feeling multiplexes give.

To me Metro, Eros, Regal, Sterling, are perfectly fine alternatives for an Inox at nariman point. Regal is a bit expensive. But how does it matter, I got to see an old theatre, with beautiful architecture, a lovely canteen and a bit scary but nice balcony. I watched Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan Se in Eros and loved it.  When I entered the hall with my mother I was shocked to see not a soul for the first fifteen minutes. The chairs were hard and there were long fans hanging from the ceiling. A man entered at the twentieth minute and that was it. We were the audience, an audience of three. It was sad, this was the effect of the multiplexes.

Had I watched the same movie in Inox I would be angry because I would have to pay four hundred rupees for the ticket of a small budget movie. If I had to pay the same for a movie like Iron Lady I wouldn’t complain much.

I would like to point out the reasons as to why the audiences avoid single screen theatres. Apart from the number of screens that provide convenience at multiplexes and of course the comfort, there are three other factors too. The day I was in  Eros I spotted something. I saw the hygiene level. The chairs were dirty. It was hot. The fans were slow. Even the walls looked old. Everything looked old.  The canteen stock was limited.  Watching a movie is a complete entertainment experience and food is part of the deal. So when I go up to the canteen counter I don’t want to hear “Madam puff khatam ho gaya”.

If single screen theatre owners consider these factors and change them it can definitely work in drawing more audiences, to a certain extent. These halls cannot be transformed into multiplexes, since that is not possible. But hygiene can be taken care of and so can be comfort. We want clean and comfortable chairs to rest our bums on. The canteen must offer more variety. Installing air conditioners would be an important and much needed step.

The owner of Liberty theatre has made some changes and today Liberty has more audience. My point is that there has to be a will to change things and that stems from a love towards what you possess. The owner of liberty theatre has done it, so can the others?





Review- Gangs of Wasseypur

SLUG: Anurag Kashyap has made a masterpiece.

The movie, Gangs of Wasseypur directed by Anurag Kashyap was screened at 65th Cannes International Film Festival. According to me, Anurag Kashyap has paid tribute to Bollywood for its completion of 100 years of Indian Cinema by making Gangs of Wasseypur – a two-part film. We have seen many underworld, mafia, gang-war movies but Gangs of Wasseypur is the ‘baap’ of all those movies. It is all about blood, curse words, revenge and sex. It is not meant for ‘family audience’. The story is about three generations of a family who live in a small town named Wasseypur and the rivalry between Qureshis and Khans. It portrays reality of life in small crime affected towns.

The movie begins with famous daily soap ‘Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’.  Gradually the camera zooms out and one observes a group of people watching the daily soap. Suddenly from nowhere bullets are showered on the group of people who are watching the daily soap. This is so unexpected that it takes your breath away. The story revolves around the character Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) who is seeking revenge for his father who was killed by a coal mine contractor-cum-Wasseypur gang lord Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Sardar marries twice and has four sons from Nagma (Richa Chadda) – wife 1 and one from Durga (Reema Sen) -wife 2. Each son has its own different story in the film. It’s quite interesting to see how the story of these characters unfolds.

A lot of dark lighting and small spaces (narrow streets) are used in the movie. In addition, every scene in the movie is of short span. The scenes are not exaggerated which is why we as audience are able to concentrate in a 2 hour 40 minute long movie. Although the movie has a serious plot, Anurag Kashap has managed to portray the movie in a witty manner in form of dialogues, lyrics, actions. For instance, when Durga is charmed by Sardar Khan over her daily chores or the one where Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin) – the youngest son of Sardar Khan; goes on a formal date with Mohsina (Huma Qureshi). Some of the best dialogues from the movie which I tend to remember are: when we hear Sardar Khan announcing- ‘Humare Zindagi Ka Ek Hi Maksad Hain- Badla’ (My life has only one aim-Revenge) or ‘Uss Harami Ko Hume Mitana Hain, Goli Nahi Maarenge Saale Ke, Keh Keh Lenge Uski.’ (I have to kill that moron by my words; not by bullet) or a dialogue from Nagma – ‘Tum Ko Mooh Marna Hain? Jahan Jaana Hain Waha Jao Bas Nikalte Waqt Naha Lena Aur Khaana Kha Ke Jaana, Bhahar Jaake Bezati Na Karana.’ (You want to visit brothel? Go ahead! But make sure, you do a good job out there). In addition, the music in the movie is quite entertaining, has meaning and it adds to the proceedings. The song Hunter sung by Vedesh Sookoo, Rajneesh, Shyamoo & Munna;  its lyrics are Haailooo! Hello! Hello! I Am A Hunter And She Want To See My Gun. When I Pull It Out Boy, The Woman Start To Run…… and Teri Kehke Lunga sung by Amit Trivedi and Sneha Khanwalkar; its lyrics are Ras bheege saude ka ye, khooni anjam teri keh ke loonga, Teri keh ke loonga, Khanjar se doodh gire yaan, ho katle aam teri keh ke loonga, Teri keh ke loonga…… are definitely worth listening.

The closing stage of the movie is quite attention-grabbing.  Sardar Khan, lurches against the bullock cart and the wheel runs over the dropped gun, causing it to fire.  Soon the text ‘To Be Continued’ emerges at the bottom of the screen. Leaving its audience with a thought – what’s next??

All these small little elements (songs, actions and  dialogues) in the movie make it worth watching. The characters and the screenplay are the backbone of the movie. Every actor in the movie has acted brilliantly. I give a ‘thumbs up’ to their acting skills in the movie which makes the movie look so real. In short, Anurag Kashyap has made a masterpiece. I’m eagerly waiting for the second part of the movie.